September 10, 2016


Political Stories

Top stories

How California defines a ‘disadvantaged community’ to get state money — Yet exactly how to identify California’s most vulnerable areas remains a subject of disagreement, four years after a 2012 bill for the first time directed that some cap-and-trade money pay for projects in those places or somehow benefit them. During the 2015-16 session, the Legislature considered more than 50 bills involving that law. Sacramento Bee article

California pot legalization proponents file complaint over surge of out-of-state money – California supporters of the statewide measure to legalize marijuana filed a complaint late Friday with the state’s political ethics watchdog alleging that an outside committee opposing Proposition 64 filed campaign finance reports months after the deadline. Sacramento Bee article

Gov. Brown

Law to fight forged autographs: Luke Skywalker endorsed, now governor approved — The force is strong with Mark Hamill, even at the Capitol. Acting on legislation prominently endorsed by the Star Wars actor, Gov. Jerry Brown on Friday signed a bill requiring memorabilia dealers in California to provide certificates of authenticity for any autographed collectibles they sell. The bill expands to all memorabilia a regulation currently in place for sports items. Sacramento Bee article

Valley politics

Stockton: At odds over police review – Mayor Anthony Silva says he wants “the public to fall back in love with the police department” and he says he knows how to accomplish his goal. But mayoral opponent Michael Tubbs and the union that represents police officers say a plan Silva announced this week to establish a “Citizens Police Review Board” is a political ploy designed with an eye toward the Nov. 8 election. Stockton Record article

Lodi group seeks recall of San Joaquin County Supervisor Winn — More than two dozen Lodi residents have signed a notice calling for San Joaquin County Supervisor Chuck Winn’s removal from office following a handful of perceived improprieties and inactions made since his election to the 4th district seat. Stockton Record article

Statewide politics/Ballot Measures

Marijuana foes report $1.3 million in contributions – from 1 donor – An outside committee opposing California’s fall marijuana legalization measure is reporting nearly $1.3 million in contributions, all from the same donor. The money comes from Julie Schauer, a retiree whose trust is in Oaks, Pa. A committee representative said she strongly opposes marijuana use. Sacramento Bee article 

California Highway Patrol stresses neutral position on marijuana legalization – The California Highway Patrol on Friday clarified its stance on the marijuana legalization measure following criticism from within its ranks over the proposal’s lack of an established standard to detect stoned motorists.  Sacramento Bee article

California Politics Podcast: Now or never for Senate race? – This week: Can Rep. Loretta Sanchez make a move in the U.S. Senate race, or does a new poll suggest it’s too late? Plus, we examine ballot measures on income taxes and the death penalty. With John Myers of the Los Angeles Times and Marisa Lagos of KQED News. California Politics Podcast

Sacramento Bee: Californians should vote yes on 56 for public health – For the good of public health, we urge a “yes” vote on Proposition 56. Sacramento Bee editorial

Antonio Villaraigosa is coming to a mailbox near you – A Villaraigosa spokesman this week confirmed that he’s agreed to be in the Latino Voter Guide slate mail card targeting 1.6 million Latino households (California has just over 10 million voting households, according to data guru Paul Mitchell). Sacramento Bee article

Other areas

‘The worst thing imaginable’: Bodies and blood everywhere after San Bernardino terrorist attack, DOJ report shows – The report, “Bringing Calm to Chaos,” reviewed the police response to the shooting, seeking lessons for future attacks, and provided new details about what occurred in the conference room. It described victims pleading for their lives and first responders having to step over bodies to reach the wounded.  LA Times articleNew York Times articleAP article

San Jose gun laws: New proposals criticized — In a state already known for some of the nation’s strictest gun controls, some San Jose officials are pushing the city to go further with a proposed law that would toughen requirements for securing firearms, reporting their theft and monitoring ammunition sales. San Jose Mercury News article

Going against the grain after Orlando shooting, LGBT group embraces guns — Jonathan Fischer is never sure who’s going to be more surprised when he, as he likes to put it, comes out of the gun closet — the gun aficionados who find out he’s gay or the gay friends who find out he likes shooting guns. LA Times article 

Reporter asks Charles Manson for his election thoughts, gets a creepy letter in response — When you send a letter to Charles Manson, you’ve got to expect that this would be the response. Buzzfeed political reporter Andrew Kaczynski learned this first-hand when he received a letter from the infamous cult leader, complete with bespoke envelope and tribal-style drawings: The letter was in response to Kaczynski’s query about what Manson thought about the current presidential election. San Francisco Chronicle article

Presidential Politics

Andrew Fiala: Is the United States heading for an impeachment crisis – The professor of philosophy and director of The Ethics Center at Fresno State writes, “The present election provides a wonderful teachable moment. Civics education includes a discussion of the virtues and vices of democracy as well as analysis of the structure and history of the Constitution.” Fiala column in Fresno Bee

News Stories

Top Stories

Northeast Fresno residents sue city over water problems — Attorneys representing three households in northeast Fresno have filed a potential class-action lawsuit against the city and others over discoloration and lead in water coming from faucets in their homes. Fresno Bee article

California schools to ensure education for English learners – 
California schools agreed to ensure language education for 1.4 million students who are designated as English learners under a federal settlement announced Friday. AP articleLA Times article

Jobs and the Economy

Report: Metro areas in Valley saw increased exports in 2015 – The U.S. Department of Commerce this week released a report highlighting goods exports from U.S. metropolitan areas for 2015. The International Trade Administration’s 2015 Metropolitan Area Export Overview indicates that goods exports from the Modesto, Stockton-Lodi and the Madera-Chowchilla metropolitan areas increased. The Business Journal article

Much a-brew about something: Shakeup in Bako beer world — Kyle Smith, the man whose Citra Double India Pale Ale put Kern County and the Kern River Brewing Company on the national beer map, is now working for Lengthwise Brewing in Bakersfield. That’s big news for Bakersfield’s growing craft beer movement and Lengthwise, the elder statesmen of Kern County’s breweries. Bakersfield Californian article

California Craft Beer Summit draws industry insiders, consumers to capital — Large crowds, plenty of beer, lots of learning and mass amounts of networking were among the highlights Friday on the first full day of the California Craft Beer Summit at the Sacramento Convention Center. Sacramento Bee article 

San Francisco residents looking at Sacramento market in big way on Zillow – San Francisco has ocean beaches and cool summer weather, but it also has sky-high real estate prices – and that may be why a big percentage of the city’s residents are searching for homes on Zillow in Sacramento. About 50 percent of people who reside in San Francisco are looking at homes on Zillow, with about 12 percent examining homes in the Sacramento region. Sacramento Bee article

Lemoore backing off online bill pay statement — Lemoore officials are backing off a written statement issued earlier this week that indicated that the only way residents can pay utility bills online is through the city’s official website,www.lemoore.comHanford Sentinel article 

Sacramento’s farm-to-fork celebration keeps adding attractions — Sacramento’s fourth, nearly 3-week-long Farm-To-Fork Celebration – which began Sept. 7 with another Guinness World Record-breaking food drive that brought in 490,000-plus pounds of fresh produce and will culminate Sept. 25 with the (sold-out) Tower Bridge Dinner – has added its own new attractions in 2016. Sacramento Bee article

Melissa Mayer will make over $44 million if Verizon fires her — One of the big questions about Verizon’s pending purchase of Yahoo is if Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer will find a role in the telecom company. But if she doesn’t, she could stand to make over $44 million, according to a document filed with the SEC on Friday afternoon. San Francisco Chronicle article 

Surprise! Silicon Valley is nation’s most expensive place to live – Domination. That’s what it’s all about. For the third time in five years, Silicon Valley ranks as the most expensive place to live in the U.S., according to a report by Coldwell Banker. San Jose Mercury News article

One year after Butte Fire, not all is lost in Calaveras County – It might be tempting to count out Calaveras County. One year after the Butte Fire, the once-lush foothills are nearly barren in places. From the ridge tops, ghostly forests of blackened trees stretch as far as you can see. Stockton Record article

Wells Fargo still facing suits from customers, employees over bogus accounts – Despite a blockbuster settlement announced Thursday, Wells Fargo isn’t done fighting allegations that its aggressive sales culture pushed employees to create accounts that customers never authorized. LA Times article

VW engineer from California pleads guilt to conspiracy in emissions scandal – A longtime Volkswagen engineer from Southern California pleaded guilty in federal court to charges he helped design and implement a software system that enabled the German automaker’s diesel engines to defeat emissions tests. LA Times article

New rules in Laguna Beach target Airbnb and other short-term housing — Laguna Beach has joined the ranks of cities passing regulations governing short-term housing such as the Airbnb-style hotel alternative. Affirming its first vote in August, the City Council voted unanimously last week to ban the controversial practice — which involves renting out space in a house or apartment for 30 days or less — in residential zones. LA Times article


Farm Beat: Food and drink drive region’s exports — Stanislaus and San Joaquin counties set records for exports in 2015, mostly food and drink from their farms and processing plants. Merced County came close. Modesto Bee article 

Mandatory GMO labels are coming to your cereal aisle: What you need to know — After years of battling state-by-state efforts to label genetically modified organisms, the country’s biggest food companies finally found one plan they can get behind. They have two years to comply with a national law compelling them to disclose whether their products contain GMOs, the designer plants that are developed by adding DNA from one species to that of another. Sacramento Bee article

Criminal Justice/Prisons

Merced deputy recovering after deadly clash in Delhi – A Merced County deputy was recovering Friday at a Modesto hospital, a day after he was shot twice during a gunfight in Delhi that left the suspect dead outside his own home. Merced Sun-Star article

Former Fresno State player who made shooting threat on social media sent to prison for evaluation – A former Fresno State walk-on football player who made a threat on social media about doing a campus shooting “to release my frustration” was handcuffed in court Friday and sent to prison for an evaluation. Fresno Bee article

7 police officers to charged in sex-abuse scandal — Seven current and former Bay Area police officers will be tried for crimes related to contact they had with a sexually exploited teenager, Alameda County prosecutors said Friday as they detailed an investigation that engulfed several police departments and cast the Oakland force into disarray. San Francisco Chronicle articleLA Times articleKQED reportNew York Times article

Armed and mentally ill: Is deadly force the only treatment left? – On the July morning Joseph Mann was shot and killed by Sacramento police, he wandered down a tree-shaded side street off Del Paso Boulevard and stopped to watch the residents of an apartment building who were drinking their morning coffee in a parking lot that doubles as a social space. At least four adults and two kids were outside, and the way Mann stood and stared made them uncomfortable. Sacramento Bee article

Sacramento County gets reprieve in $5 million ruling for plaintiffs’ lawyers in deputies’ suit – A Sacramento judge Friday stopped short of ordering Sacramento County to pay millions of dollars in fees to the attorneys of four female sheriff’s deputies who won a lawsuit claiming retaliation at the hands of their superiors. Sacramento Bee article 

After mass shooting, San Bernardino endures a surge in deadly violence: 150 shootings, 47 slayings — San Bernardino, still healing from the Dec. 2 terror attack, has seen a surge in violence this year unlike any it has faced in decades. With four months left in 2016, there have been 150 shootings and 47 slayings in the city of 216,000 residents. It had 44 homicides all of last year, including the 14 people killed by terrorists at the Inland Regional Center. LA Times article

LAPD honors officers for bravery, and, for the first time, their restraint — The LAPD has long recognized officers for heroic acts, bestowing the department’s highest honor — the Medal of Valor — upon those who have pulled people from fiery car crashes or shielded fellow officers during shootouts. But the Preservation of Life medal honors officers who go above and beyond normal police work to avoid using deadly force during dangerous encounters. LA Times article

Autopsy finds single police shot killed unarmed San Francisco woman — Jessica Williams, the apparently unarmed woman whose fatal shooting by San Francisco police in May led to the resignation of then-Chief Greg Suhr, died of a single shot to the chest, according to the medical examiner’s autopsy report. San Francisco Chronicle article


Questions raised over Fresno Unified superintendent’s early evaluation – The Fresno Teachers Association is questioning why Fresno Unified Superintendent Michael Hanson’s annual performance evaluation is being expedited. Hanson’s evaluation is listed on the school board meeting agenda for next week, but typically isn’t addressed until November or later. Fresno Bee article 

Talib Abdul-Khabir: A peaceful resolution to the homework wars – Most students rebel when it comes to doing homework because they lack some academic skills. These students need to be encouraged and supported. Perhaps a tutor such as an older sibling, or an extra hour after school, can result in academic achievement. Abdul-Khabir column in Modesto Bee

High school board to consider censure of Opinski – Greg Opinski, a prominent contractor and Merced Union High School District board member accused of bribery, will face possible censure by his fellow trustees during a meeting scheduled for next week. Merced Sun-Star article

New trustee sworn in to Los Banos school board after close recall vote – Ray Martinez was sworn in Thursday as the newest Los Banos Unified School District trustee after winning a close vote to recall John Mueller from the board. Los Banos Enterprise article

Focus placed on future of black girls at scholarship luncheon – There was a time when, during discussions about helping black children stay in school and away from the criminal justice system, only a handful of people in the room would ask, “What about the girls?” Monique Morris was one of them, but she said more and more people are starting to join the conversation addressing black girls. Stockton Record article

Kathryn Forbes: Sameness is boring: Let’s unite for civil rights and equal opportunity – The professor in the Women’s Studies Program at Fresno State writes, “Victor Davis Hanson’s essay on Aug. 28, “Campuses desperately need unity czars, not diversity czars,” laments the lack of unity in society and especially on college campuses. He credits this disharmony to the rise of liberal diversity politics. I offer a different opinion.” Forbes op-ed in Fresno Bee


Lawmaker says Yosemite addition violates US law — Yosemite National Park violated federal law when it added 400 acres of land it plans to preserve as habitat for endangered wildlife without clearing it through Congress, a U.S. lawmaker said Friday. AP article

Health/Human Services 

California insurers may be exploiting outrage over drug prices to inflate health plan premiums, consumer advocates say – The advocacy group Consumers Union says two of California’s largest insurers may be exploiting the outrage over high drug prices to artificially inflate their premiums for individual coverage under the Affordable Care Act. KQED report

Study: High school and college students are not using illegal drugs as much as their parents once did — High school students and young adults are much less likely to use illicit drugs than their parents, according to data released Thursday. And compared to baby boomers, young adults today look like outright angels. Except for their acceptance of marijuana, that is. NPR report

Land Use/Housing

HUD delays decision on San Francisco anti-gentrification plan – The Obama administration needs more time to decide whether to allow San Francisco to move forward on a controversial effort to ease the effect of the housing crisis on some of its most vulnerable communities. KQED report


Apple said to be rethinking strategy on self-driving cars — Apple is rethinking what it plans to do about self-driving cars, just as other big tech companies appear ready to plow ahead with competing efforts. In a retrenchment of one of its most ambitious initiatives, Apple has shuttered parts of its self-driving car project and laid off dozens of employees, according to three people briefed on the move who were not allowed to speak about it publicly. New York Times article

Other areas

Oakdale Irrigation District board dysfunction aired in court papers – Irrigation board members Linda Santos and Gail Altieri got mixed up in a lawsuit against their agency because they felt their general manager and their attorney were hiding secrets from them, from the public and from a judge, the women said in new court documents. Modesto Bee article

Mike Klocke: Remembering 9/11, and moving forward – It’s hard to believe 15 years have passed since the horrific day that changed the United States forever. It was after 6 a.m. on Sept. 11, 2001, when my phone rang with a call from Jim Gold, my boss at the time. Klocke column in Stockton Record

CEO Ornellas, attorney Castillo honored – Visionary Home Builders CEO Carol Ornelas thought she was being summoned to the office of Stockton Chamber of Commerce CEO Douglass Wilhoit for business as usual on Friday morning. Instead, she was met with hugs, congratulations and flowers. Later Friday, chamber members surprised Erin Guy Castillo with the news she was the Young Professional Leadership Award winner. Stockton Record article 

Will Sacramento’s public art renaissance boost galleries, artists? – Sacramentans are discovering more amenities in their hometown than beer, bacon and basketball. With the $8 million acquisition of the Jeff Koons sculpture “Coloring Book” for the soon-to-open Golden 1 Center, the idea of art in Sacramento is no longer just insider salon discussion. Everyone has an opinion about the striking, multicolored work, even though the sculpture won’t be installed until next month. Sacramento Bee article

Beloved ceiling stars shine again at Hanford Fox after restoration — The Hanford Fox Theatre, one of the jewels of the central San Joaquin Valley, is shining brighter than ever following a two-year restoration that cost nearly $4 million. Fresno Bee article 

Wags and Whiskers Rescue moving out of Finch Road shelter – Wags and Whiskers Rescue, which its founder estimates has secured homes for more than 2,000 dogs and cats since opening an adoption center at the former county animal shelter in late 2013, is leaving the property. For the foreseeable future, the nonprofit organization will return to being a foster-based rescue, meaning supporters will shelter animals until they can be found “forever homes.” Modesto Bee article 

Expert promotes idea of humans becoming ‘better observers’ of animals – An animal-welfare expert told a Fresno State audience Friday that humans need to be better observers of animal behavior to reduce their stress and minimize harm. Fresno Bee article

Joy Dockter: Noah’s is not an abuse and neglect factory – The Fresno resident writes, “Though I am not formally affiliated with the organization, I feel compelled to speak up on behalf of the operators of Noah’s Friends Animal Sanctuary in Orange Cove.” Dockter op-ed in Fresno Bee

Caltrans death notice spurs a ‘Reply Allpocalypse’ for 16,000 workers – Caltrans Director Malcolm Dougherty had a somber message to share with more than 16,000 state employees last week: A Caltrans electrician had been killed on the job in a highway accident, marking the agency’s first death in the field since July 2015. Dougherty wanted to deliver the sad news himself, but his expression of grief devolved into one of the banes of modern office life: the Reply Allpocalypse. Sacramento Bee article

Elizabeth Rowan: What’s more important: Standing or being able to read? — By idolizing athletics over academics, we teach young people that they are only as good as their worst sport; that they should aspire to be in the NBA instead of earning an MBA. Putting heroic emphasis on athleticism conveys the message that young people are more valued for their physical abilities than their minds. If teaching kids how to play football is more important than teaching kids how to read, then we deserve the heroes we get. Rowan column in Modesto Bee (scroll to item)

Valley Editorial Roundup

Fresno Bee – Thumbs up, thumbs down.

Sacramento Bee – For the good of public health, we urge a “yes” vote on Proposition 56; There is Before 9/11 and After 9/11. Now, 15 years past that dreadful day, we feel the effects, and will for as long as we live.